‘Robert’ Luongo could get traded ‘to’ Vancouver, according to Sports Illustrated

For a few brief, merciful days, all the talk of a Roberto Luongo trade in the media had been replaced by talk of a goalie controversy in Vancouver. We complained about the hype, questioned what would actually constitute a goalie controversy, and scoffed at how Alain Vigneault giving a world-class goaltender consecutive starts while he’s on a hot streak could even be called controversial.

But really, it was a relief.

For once, we could stop the endless speculation about potential Luongo trade destinations, returns, and whether he would even get traded at all. Instead, we could focus on a rather pleasant problem: which of the Canucks’ two fantastic goaltenders should start each game?

Unfortunately, it couldn’t last. Eventually the rumour mill would start up again; this time around, it was kicked into gear by a visit by Mike Gillis and Laurence Gilman to the Verizon Center for a game between the Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. This, of course, immediately led to speculation from every corner of the media landscape that the Canucks were working on a trade with the Capitals, with Luongo the centrepiece. That included Sports Illustrated, who need to pay closer attention to their photo captions.

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Hear Roberto Luongo zing Damien Cox: ‘Are you here scouting for the Leafs?’

Throughout the Roberto Luongo trade saga — which appears to have no end in sight, with Luongo starting his third straight game Friday versus the Blackhawks — Mike Gillis has remained impressively stoic. But during a January 18th interview on the Team 1040, Jason Botchford did manage to get the Canucks’ GM’s ire up with a question about whether the Canucks were asking too much for the goalie.

“The notion that we were asking for too much,” Gillis responded, “was floated in the Toronto media by a team that was extremely interested in acquiring Roberto and were using every means possible to try and force us to do something that we didn’t think was right. That’s nothing new in this business and it’s not the type of pressure that I’m going to succumb to.”

So which Toronto media members were aiding the Leafs’ public negotiations? Well, we can’t know for sure, but if you follow Damien Cox on Twitter, tweets like this one or this one certainly seem to point to the Toronto Star columnist pitching in. I’d suspect that Gillis had Cox in mind when he made the statement.

I’d also suspect that Gillis isn’t the only member of the Canucks’ organization that thinks this, especially after Roberto Luongo’s little zinger Wednesday night. Upon encountering Cox in the postgame scrum following his 3-0 shutout of the Avalanche, Luongo interrupted Cox’s question to ask one of his own: “Are you here scouting for the Leafs or what?”

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The Roberto Luongo trade, like the CBA, is being negotiated in public

By now, you could probably publish an anthology of the digital ink that’s been spilled speculating on Roberto Luongo’s next destination, and not just some sissy course-pack. This thing would rival the Norton Shakespeare with the writing of Thomas Drance alone — in the past month, at that.

Yeah, we’re still talking about Funny Bob. If you thought that the expiration of the collective bargaining agreement and the delay in getting a new one might put this topic on the back burner — especially since it’s literally impossible for Luongo to be traded right now — think again. Last week, John Shannon got things started right back up by saying that a deal to the Toronto Maple Leafs “done”.

What he meant, since he’s as aware as anybody that you can’t trade players without a CBA and hockey totally doesn’t have one of those right now, was that it’s “all but done”. I spoke to him on the phone over the weekend, and he clarified: “Here’s what I truly believe: with the information that I have, once the collective bargaining agreement is done and all the rules and regulations are in place, that a deal between Brian Burke and the Canucks will be made.”

Mike Gillis has since issued a full denial of Shannon’s report, but Shannon stuck to his guns in a Sportsnet piece over the weekend. Granted, this line tripped me up somewhat:

“I do not know who or what [Luongo] will be traded for, and believe it or not, I don’t think general managers Mike Gillis and Brian Burke know either. The rules of any new collective bargaining agreement will dictate the actual transaction.”

In other words, the deal is only all but done in the sense that it’s not done at all? Right on.

Gillis and Burke are negotiating, though, and I would suggest that the last five days aren’t just evidence of that — they are that. This deal, like the CBA, is being negotiated in public.

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Is Luongo to the Maple Leafs close? Depends on the meaning of ‘close’

Here’s yet another reason that the NHL lockout needs to end right the heck now: the labour stoppage has robbed us of the glorious ending to the Roberto Luongo saga. It’s completely unfair and borderline torture to be left hanging in this way, like AMC making Breaking Bad fans wait a full year for the second half of season 5.

But, like that Youtube guy that perfectly predicted the season 4 finale, Sportsnet’s John Shannon claims to have figured out how this whole ordeal ends. On Wednesday, in a televised discussion with Nick Kypreos, Shannon said that the Canucks had a Luongo deal in place with the Toronto Maple Leafs, and the only thing holding up the deal is that, thanks to the lockout, Luongo doesn’t currently play for them.

Supposing the NHL’s current proposal is accepted and the season begins next month, Shannon had the following to say: “‘Roberto Luongo is staying in Canada, and will be a Toronto Maple Leaf by November 2nd.”

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